Published: September 8, 2011
Drunk driver who sped wrong way down M5 past Burnham is jailed

A drunken woman who drove the wrong way for 23 miles along the M5 motorway past Burnham-On-Sea has been jailed for nine months this week.

Deborah Hunt, 43, from Langport, drove north on the southbound carriageway of the motorway in July, from Bridgwater towards Weston.

She was twice over the drink-drive limit and had no insurance, Bristol Crown Court was told.

Hunt pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, driving under the influence of alcohol and without insurance.

She was also banned from driving for 15 months and will be required to take an extended driving test.

She wept in the dock as Judge Mark Horton said he would be failing in his public duty if he did not jail her immediately for so serious an offence.

Judge Horton said it was "unbelievably fortunate" no-one had been killed or injured by her as she drove at 60mph in the dark after 11pm.

The court heard that Hunt, an unemployed former financial adviser, was suffering from alcoholism and stress caused by her unemployment.

She is also fighting her ex-husband for custody of their children.

Hunt joined the motorway at junction 24 and briefly headed south before doing a U-turn and driving north.

She drove along the outside lane of the motorway before eventually coming to a halt on the hard shoulder. She was found by police near junction 21 at Weston on the hard shoulder struggling to restart the engine of her partner's Peugeot 806.

Judge Horton said Hunt had caused "terror" to other motorists.

Supt Ian Smith from Avon and Somerset Police said: "Deborah Hunt was lucky not to have killed someone or herself. Drink-driving is in itself an inherently dangerous act but to drive on a motorway contrary to the flow of traffic is an outrageously perilous act that could have resulted in the most catastrophic of consequences."

"What makes this more appalling is the lack of regard she has shown in terms of the consequences of her criminal actions that may have resulted in her own death or serious injury."


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